Strategies For Staying Relevant During The Sales & Marketing Revolution

Published: July 20, 2010

Pressure to generate more qualified leads, deliver ROI and, at the same time, integrate our departments, our data and our channels — all in the face of shrinking budgets and a lagging economy — are forcing sales and marketing to reinvent the way we do our jobs. And the way we work together.

For example, sales and marketing departments today are forced to do more with less, necessitating better partnerships with each other to ensure joint goals are met. Sales and marketing both sign up for a revenue goal and both are tasked with generating demand — lead generation isn’t just a responsibility for marketing and revenue isn’t just a responsibility for sales. As our teams become more integrated, we are each taking on greater responsibility and challenging traditional ways of thinking. We need to innovate together. We need to be accountable to the bottom line. And, as always, we need to raise awareness, communicate with the buyer and generate leads as well.

New approaches to generating leads and driving business growth make us directly responsible for the success of our companies, and marketing today is about more than supporting the sales effort, just as sales is about more than  selling a product or service. Our roles are to facilitate the buying process and influence buying decisions, and in today’s multi-channel environment that means we must equip our buyers and consumers with information and empower them to take control of the brand. It’s about engaging the consumer in two-way conversational campaigns.  And, it’s about whether sales and marketing departments are engaging via these new channels or watching from the sidelines.

Even the way we undertake our most fundamental objectives has expanded.  For example, go to market can no longer be about mass targeting and one size fits all.  We need to segment markets — something both marketing and sales have traditionally resisted. We need to leverage segmentation to create an integrated marketing and sales approach that aligns relevant messages and value props and creates offers and sales follow-ups accordingly. Relevance is in. Siloed demand generation is out.

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In addition to improving integration and facilitating the customer experience, sales and marketing must also be more accountable. We can no longer afford to waste money, people and time pouring over spreadsheets and disparate data in an attempt to prove ROI. Yet, we can’t ignore ROI, either. In today’s business climate, proving ROI is essential, and to do so, we have to automate the science of proving marketing ROI and integrating measurements across all channels, not just the easy ones. Times have changed, and marketers no longer need to run from crunching numbers, just as sales teams aren’t meeting every customer by traveling door-to-door. Today’s heads of sales and marketing often have seats in the boardroom and are just as responsible for results as the CEO and the CFO.

At Aprimo, we’re embracing all that’s changing in marketing and sales. And what’s more, we’re working with CMOs and marketers around the globe to actually drive the change.  Last summer, we worked with a market research firm to survey hundreds of marketers about what is important to them in the field of marketing.  We then continued this work at a customer event we hosted earlier this year in Texas, where we gathered together some truly revolutionary marketing leaders to discuss what’s happening in the field today. Over the course of this research, two things became clear: First, we realized that the marketing function must change or risk becoming irrelevant. And second, we realized that in order for marketers to evolve towards that new function, certain guiding principles are vital.

From these discussions, our customers helped us identify “The Imperatives of the Marketing Revolution,” 10 bold steps to help marketers navigate the changing role of marketing while providing a holistic view of best practices from the marketers themselves who are leading this revolution.

The first Imperative, “Marketing Must Be Accountable,” discusses how marketers can lead the revolution within their own organizations. It is our responsibility to take control of our brands to modernize, simplify, integrate and engage.  In this first Imperative, industry leaders, including Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch and others at leading BtoC and BtoB brands, offer their advice on how to foster better marketing practices within your organization.

Future topics will cover a variety of today’s hot-button topics, such as the impact of the CMO, consumers’ ability to take control of brands, customer engagement and balancing and managing multichannel approaches to marketing.

Ultimately, the goal of “The Imperatives of the Marketing Revolution” series is to provide advice and commentary from marketers, to marketers. In order to ensure that Aprimo is addressing every aspect of the marketing landscape and making sure that real-world marketers’ voices are heard, I invite marketers from every industry, at every level and from every marketing medium to share their opinions and take part in the conversation.

I want to hear your thoughts on how the sales and marketing industries are changing. What do you think marketers must do to adapt and succeed? To join the discussion and help lead the marketing revolution, please visit:


As Aprimo’s Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Arthur drives global market and brand strategy, demand generation and customer-centric initiatives. Arthur has served as CMO for Internet leader Akamai Technologies and B2B2C application provider Mindjet. Arthur spent nearly 7 years at Oracle where she managed the market entry and growth for Oracle CRM. Most recently, as the founder for Cinterim, Arthur applied her market-centric processes and insight to provide strategic counsel for Silicon Valley start-ups and Fortune 50 technology companies. Arthur is a seasoned keynote speaker addressing diverse topics at Web 2.0, Office 2.0, American Marketing Association (AMA) Strategy Confer­ence, Stanford University and MIT Sloan CMO Summit.

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